FPs kept up their pursuit of the Grade 1 title with an extremely hard-fought win against Gordonians. Following on from the Aberdeenshire cup success, FPs could not find the same focus or poise and laboured badly before lower-order players Agha Haider (17no) and Ranald Wilkie (12no) helped FPs over the line putting on 19 for the 8th wicket. If Gordonians had not dropped Fraser Proud (29) 2 of the easiest catches in history and also not shelled a similar sitter off top scorer Conner McKinney (40) then FPs title hopes would have surely been severely dented. As it was, FPs winning mentality just saw them through to keep their winning run going.
With skipper Swiergoon unavailable and vice-captain Prash on day 9 of government isolation, Fraser Proud captained and won the toss unlike the skipper and decided to bowl. With Mapplebeck and Nattrass also out and Thomson still injured, Agha Haider, Ranand Wilkie, and Leston D’Costa were promoted from 2s.
Proud immediately found life in the pitch and Mehta’s 1st ball was dropped in the gully by Keith. His new-ball partner did get the breakthrough though, bowling Mehta for 2. With a bit in the pitch, Knudson was on early but struggled for his usual accuracy, but did remove Bashir LBW for 13, hitting across the line to fall for 13. Perera hit Knudson for 14 in 3 balls in his next over, but Knudson replied with a perfect off-break to comprehensively bowl him for those 14 runs.
FPs could have really tied things up when Shaikh was miles out of his ground but Anand and Morrison conspired to mess up the simplest of run-outs which was to prove rather costly. The score had reached 90 for 3 which prompted the skipper to bring himself on and he quickly had Patel caught and bowled for 30. 4 balls later Aravind could only fend Proud to Morrison at the wicket to fall for a duck. It was soon 93 for 7 as Singh tried for 2 and was brilliantly run out by the unlikely Roland Knudson. Shortly after Proud had his 3rd as Maheshwari chipped to Wilkie.
FPs were now expecting to wrap things up, but some loose bowling and some clever batting allowed Gordonians to add 39 for the 8th wicket, Challa eventually finding the edge of Kistareddy’s bat to remove him for 12. Subramanian then frustrated FPs in helping his skipper move the score to 159 and also helping his skipper to a half-century before Anand removed the former, Morrison taking a sharp catch up to the stumps. FPs’ lethargic showing was rather summed up as they dropped a catch off the last ball of the innings.
Despite it being far from vintage showing, given the reduced bowling reserves, 160 looked like a very reachable target with sensible batting. Bowling wise, Proud took 3 for 23 from 8, Challa 2 for 28, Knudson 2 for 40, and Karan Anand 1 for 26 from their full allocations. Wilkie and Haider chipped in with 3 overs each going for 12 and 15 respectively, while McKinney bowled the 37th and 39th overs to concede just 3.
Keith and Morrison’s productive opening partnership could not deliver this time as both fell with the score on 16, Keith (12) bowled by a very fine ball by Perera (2), and Morrison edging a good ball from Mehta. Penman was in no mood to mess around as he was treated to some nearby batting advice and played like a man that had a Polka party to attend at 5 pm in Rothes, quickly making 16 before walking having edged Bashir to the keeper. It was 61 for 4 when D’Costa (14) was well held at point off Shaikh as Gordonians looked to take control.
The game would have been theirs if Proud had not been dropped the easy chances, one at the wicket that Patel will never wish to talk about again, especially given his fine keeping. Proud and McKinney thanks to their lives then added 66 to seemingly steer FPs into clear water. They seemed to have things in hand when the game took another twist when Proud was bowled by Kistareddy by a ball that didn’t bounce as he expected and 2 balls later Anand drove straight back to the bowler as FPs slid to 127 for 6.
Ever a man for a crisis, the most laid back man in cricket Agha Haider arrived to help McKinney attempt to reach the finish line. With McKinney preferring all action running style and Haider operating at a rather more chilled pace, the running had a few issues but they added 14 to take FPs within 19 of victory. Once again with Gordonians looking like the game may be up, Bashir returned and McKinney could only misdirect a short ball where the sub fielder claimed the catch at the 2nd attempt, FPs still requiring 19 with Wilkie heading to the crease.
There was lots of advice on how to play things but the batsmen wisely played their own way which was aggressive, Haider providing the shot of the match, a splendid inside out cover drive to the boundary, Wilkie joining the party smacking a full toss to the boundary as FPs closed in. Haider launched one over long-on to get FPs close and Wilkie finished matters with an aggressive hit over mid wicket for 4 as FPs sneaked home.
Gordonians put a lot into the game and if the catching had been better FPs would have really been up against it, but the win moves FPs to the last game against Crescent who are bound to present a stiff challenge.
Man of the Match
Special mention to Agha Haider and Ranald Wilkie for their batting at the end but McKinney’s 40 held FPs together.
The inside-out cover drive by Agha was majestic.Scorecard Gordonians v AGSFPs